“In their addiction to the slogan “save the tooth,” dentists increasingly lose the patient.”
—M. H. Fischer, M.D (Author, Death and Dentistry)
By Cat Saunders
This article may not win me many friends among mainstream dentists and endodontists who do root canals. But if it helps even one person solve mysterious health problems, then the wrath of a few specialists will seem negligible in comparison.
To be fair, most dentists and endodontists in America are probably unaware of the documented relationship between root-canaled teeth and degenerative disease. Until recently, I was also unaware of the 25 years of research done in the early1900s under the auspices of the American Dental Association—research that was subsequently covered up.
This research, which was carried out by the late Dr. Weston Price and sixty of the leading scientists of his time, is outlined in detail by Dr. George Meinig in the book Root Canal Cover-Up (Bion Publishing,1994).
Ironically, Dr. Meinig was one of the original founders of the American Association of Endodontists. During his 47 years of practice, he performed countless root canals only to discover—after he retired—the work of Dr. Price. Believing the dental profession would require more studies upon learning of this long-buried research, Dr. Meinig wrote Root Canal Cover-Up and began lecturing about the dangers of root canals.
Through exhaustive repetitions of animal experiments, along with extensive studies of human patients, Dr. Price demonstrated the detrimental effects of root-canaled teeth on overall health. Although I detest animal research, I gratefully acknowledge the incredible contribution of all the creatures who suffered and died in the process of exposing the effects of root canals.
One major finding of Dr. Price’s research was that root-canaled teeth are not sterile—and indeed could not be sterilized—even after they were extracted and submitted to sterilizing procedures. When such a tooth was implanted under the skin of a rabbit, the rabbit contracted the same disease suffered by the former owner of the root-canaled tooth. Also, the people who had root-canaled teeth removed subsequently experienced an alleviation of their particular disease.
Lest you think root canals are rare and therefore can’t be much of a contributor to our country’s marked increase in degenerative disease during the last fifty years, consider this: in 1994, the American Association of Endodontists estimated that twenty million root canal treatments are done each year in the United States. Although no statistics exist that tally the total number of people living with root canals, it’s safe to say that the numbers easily run into the triple-digit millions.
In case you are one of these millions who have a root canal, please understand that root canals do not necessarily cause degenerative disease. Even Dr. Price stated that people with strong immune systems can probably live comfortably with root canals—except in cases where a subsequent accident, influenza, or other stressor contributes additional detriment to immune function.
Thus, my purpose here is not to cause undue concern for people with root canals, nor to crucify dentists and endodontists for their work. We all do what we can with what we know. My purpose here is simply to tell my own story. In the process, I hope to make some information available that has been covered up for several decades.
In my case, one of my molars came to a point where it just couldn’t take any more stress. After a couple decades of dental and accident trauma, temporo mandibular joint (TMJ) problems, and multiple crown jobs, this molar refused to stop hurting, and my ex-dentist said it needed a root canal.
My whole body rebelled against the idea of killing a tooth and leaving its dead body in my mouth, but no alternatives were offered. I put it off for as long as possible, then had the root canal done in early January of 1996.
Prior to the root canal, I’d made some significant progress with a number of longstanding health conditions, thanks to the support of an exceptionally skillful holistic physician I had just begun seeing. However, something seemed to be canceling out my progress. Old symptoms resurfaced, along with some scary new ones.
I began getting chronic infections again, blemishes on my skin started taking weeks to heal, my digestion broke down, extreme fatigue had set in again, connective tissue and joint problems worsened, and the capillaries in my mouth and nose bled at the slightest provocation.
In addition, something new developed: I began having so much pain inside certain vertebrae that I could barely lift my head when I woke up in the morning. By May, I was quite debilitated and I didn’t understand why.
Concurrent to these months of downward spiraling, my ongoing nutrition studies led me to the Gerson Institute, whose book resource list led me to Root Canal Cover-Up. There, in meticulous detail accompanied by graphic photographs, my worst fears about root canals were confirmed.
My intuition had been right! With detective curiosity, I traced back the exacerbation—or initiation—of my physical symptoms, and I discovered that they all began after the root canal.
If all this research about root canals is so important, you may wonder why it was covered up. Apparently, the work of Dr. Price (who was known as “the world’s greatest dentist”) was covered up because of a controversy among dentists and physicians about the validity of the “focal infection theory.”
This theory was originally introduced in 1904 by Dr. Frank Billings of the Chicago University Medical School. Dr. Billings’ theory was substantiated by a monumental 1174-page, two-volume body of research produced later by Dr. Price.
Basically, the focal infection theory states that infected teeth, tonsils, sinuses, or other areas of infection hold bacteria that can travel through the bloodstream to other glands, organs, or tissues, and subsequently set up infection in the new site. In other words, infection can spread from one part of the body to another, in the same way cancer cells can spread (metastasize) via the circulating blood.
Most people believe that the whole point of root canals is to remove (or prevent) infection and thus, to leave a non-offending tooth. Unfortunately, this doesn’t necessarily work. Why not? Because under the white part of the tooth (the enamel) is the dentin, which is actually comprised of about three miles of microscopic tubules.
When the pulp of a tooth is removed and filled (root-canaled), the tooth no longer has the capacity to flush out the bacteria that accumulate in these tiny tubules of the dentin. To make matters worse, common X-rays are not magnified enough to reveal these tubules, much less the bacteria in them, so infection may go unnoticed in its early stages.
People may scoff that such tiny amounts of bacteria can impact the immune system, but I’ve read about physicians who refuse to treat people with cancer or other chronic illnesses until they’ve had all root-canaled teeth removed. The point is, the white part of the tooth is alive—just as bone is alive—and it needs a live nerve and artery to keep it healthy. It’s that simple.
Upon reading Root Canal Cover-Up, I realized that I would need to have my molar extracted. I didn’t relish the thought, but the alternative was worse. Therefore, I set out to find a dentist who was aware of the protocols outlined in Dr. Meinig’s book, because it’s important to extract the root-canaled tooth in a specific way to ensure the removal of all traces of infection in the surrounding bone and tissue.
Synchronistically, my holistic physician, Dr. Steve Hall (who fully supported my decision), called and said he’d just met a holistic dentist who might be able to help. His hunch turned out to be correct, and I soon had the tooth extracted.
Afterward, I took the tooth home with me, thinking I would keep it as some kind of testament to my ordeal. However, when I asked my body what it needed in order to heal, the first thing it said was, “Get rid of that toxic tooth!”
I put the molar inside a plastic bag and smashed it with a hammer on the concrete walk outside my house. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next: when the tooth shattered, it released a horrendous stench! The awful reek of infection gave me a visceral understanding of the toxicity of root canals above and beyond everything I’d already read about them.
Holding my nose in disgust, I gathered up the pieces of my tooth and took them down to a lake near my house. Once there, I threw the dead chunks into the water in a ritual of completion and release
Walking along the path by the lake, I spotted a tiny dirt trail leading down to a small group of boulders near the water. Carefully, I stepped onto the boggy edge and flung the pieces of my tooth into the lake. I listened—plink, plink, plink—as the shattered pieces hit the surface of the lake and sank. Then I turned back to sit on one of the rocks.
As soon as I sat down, I looked up and saw a huge yellow monarch butterfly a few inches away from my feet. The appearance of this universal symbol of metamorphosis touched me. Somehow it felt like a blessing of letting go and transformation.
Mesmerized by the gentle movements of its wings in the wind, I watched it for several minutes and decided I wouldn’t leave until it flew away. After a few moments, it began to move away, so I started to leave. But I sat back down quickly when the butterfly suddenly flew straight toward me.
Just before it reached me, it turned and flew to my left, then to my right, then away a few inches, then toward me, then again to my left, right, away a few inches, and back again. The butterfly repeated this dance of the four directions in front of me several times.
Eventually, it flew up and away straight over my head. I got up to leave, but then it flew back in front of my face and repeated its dance all over again! Needless to say, I sat back down one more time and gave the butterfly my full attention.
At some point, the golden creature flew to some flowers a few feet away and didn’t return again to me. So I thanked it for the dance and walked back to my car.
The butterfly dance did not herald the end of my healing process following the extraction. My healing from the surgery turned out to be difficult and lengthy, due to some complications and my already compromised health. Even so, my overall health began to transform immediately after the extraction of the root-canaled tooth.
The pain in my spine vanished overnight. The chronic infections I mentioned cleared up over the next few days. My digestion returned to normal, my connective tissue and joints became noticeably stronger, and the fatigue decreased dramatically. On the same day after the extraction, I felt better than I had in months!
Of course, everyone’s body is unique. My own body’s rapid decline (after the root canal) and equally rapid recovery (following the tooth’s extraction) may not be the norm. People with strong immune systems may never experience symptoms—or may not have any problems until years later, at which time they may have long forgotten about the possible link to a root canal.
The point is, our bodies work within a delicate balance of interdependent systems, and root canals can upset this balance. Although my experience provides only a glimpse of the root canal cover-up story, I hope it inspires you and others to think twice before allowing a tooth to be killed and filled, which is my personal definition of the euphemistic term “root canal.”
This article has been revised and updated from the original, which was published by The New Times in 1996.
You can order Root Canal Cover-Up through the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation by visiting www.price-pottenger.org or by calling (800) 366-3748.
If you’d like a referral for a holistic dentist or other health care professional who is aware of the dangers of root canals and/or trained in Dr. Meinig’s protocols, please contact the Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (www.price-pottenger.org or 800-366-3748).
Cat Saunders, Ph.D., is a counselor in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is also the author of Dr. Cat’s Helping Handbook: A Compassionate Guide for Being Human (available through Amazon). Contact Cat by emailing her or by calling 206-329-0125 (24-hour voicemail).